Is This the Largest 3D Metal Piece Ever Made?

Author:  Cranfield University | United Kingdom
Source:  The Shot Peener magazine, Vol 31, Issue 1, Winter 2017
Doc ID:  2017009
Year of Publication:  2017
Researchers at Cranfield University have unveiled what they believe is the biggest metal 3D part ever made in one piece, using Cranfield’s Wire + Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM) process. The six-metre long, 300-kg, double-sided spar is made from aerospace-grade aluminium on Cranfield’s new 10-metre metal printer. Cranfield’s researchers are already upgrading it to make it suitable for production of titanium parts with the addition of a local shielding device which the University has also developed. The 3D printing, also known as additive manufacture (AM), enables the production of metal parts at significantly reduced time and cost when compared to existing methods. Virtually any shape can be created and it enables an increase in design freedom by using the process of adding successive layers of material in different shapes. Traditional machining techniques mostly rely on the removal of material through cutting or drilling, thereby creating more wastage and at higher cost.

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